By Kristen Gunn, Thrive in Five® Consultant
It is not a surprise that the rules of marketing have been transformed by technology. But even among these changes, the goal of marketing remains: How best to get the word out about your business to the perfect strangers.
In order to stay human in a world that is dominated by technology, remember the basics of being a friend. Here are 9 simple rules to help guide you in building lasting and valuable customer friendships.
1. Be PROACTIVE – As on the playground, seek out friends with whom you have something in common. Imagine your perfect customer and describe them. Now go out to find them.
2. Be UNDERSTANDING – Recognize that conflict is part of friendship. Check in regularly with your customers to find out how they are doing. Don’t just ask about their use of your product or service, but perhaps there is an additional need that you might fulfill. Sometimes unhappy customers can become happy vocal advocates if you handle their disappointment promptly and add to their satisfaction.
3. Be KIND – Treat your friend as they wish to be treated – Some customers want the space and freedom to come and go, and others want you to hold their hand. Your goal is to understand the uniqueness of your customers and provide each one with their own comfort zone.
4. Be GENEROUS – Give a little and give a lot. It is nice to know your friends are never far away, and it is lovely to get surprised every once in a while with a thoughtful gift.
5. Be SUPPORTIVE – In communicating with customers, spend 90% being supportive of what they are doing and 10% selling your product or service. Be genuinely interested in providing value to them.
6. Be HUMBLE – Listen when you are being told difficult truths. When a customer gives you difficult feedback about your product or service, LISTEN. Many customers just leave when they are not satisfied with what they have purchased, but those who take the time to provide criticism want you to be better.
7. Be BETTER – Your goal is to constantly be improving what you provide and how you provide it. As you grow, so too does your customer.
8. Be SOCIAL – Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that they want to see it again, and bring their friends.” Customers have and will always share their experiences and it is only the way in which they share the information that has changed.
9. CELEBRATE! – The best friends are those that treat you as a gift and know how to party!
Being in business means that you are building relationships. No matter how long you have been in business, whether it be days, months, or years, you are seeking to provide a valuable experience to another person. Perhaps in the beginning your customers may be people that you know, but as your business grows, your customers will begin as strangers and if you are lucky, they will evolve into friends.